Peaceful Assembly

The right to freedom of peaceful assembly, while protected by the constitution, is unduly limited by law and in practice. Persons wishing to assemble are required to apply for a permit, which may be denied by the authorities without providing justification. In reality, only those wishing to express sensitive topics, including those considered to be critical of the political system, or relating to religion, are denied permits. When such gatherings and demonstrations do take place, they are often heavily surveilled and monitored while leaders and participants are subjected to harassment, intimidation and detention. The authorities used unnecessary or excessive force to disperse and prevent peaceful gatherings and protests in 2017, in particular those relating to a Taiwanese-owned steel mill that had allegedly caused fish kills in coastal waters in April 2016.